ERIC Number: ED125774
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1976-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Mental Manipulation of Cognitive Maps in Children and Adults.
Hardwick, Douglas A.; McIntyre, Curtis W.
Two experiments compared the cognitive maps (mental representations of the spatial environment) of first graders, fifth graders and college students, and investigated developmental changes in the ability to manipulate cognitive maps mentally. In the first experiment, subjects were asked to move from stationpoint to stationpoint and at each, to align a sighting tube in the direction of three targets. Half the subjects in each age group performed this task while in direct visual contact with the room, half while enclosed by an opaque screen. The three age groups differed only in the obstructed viewing condition. First graders were less accurate than either fifth graders or college students, suggesting that the spatial memory underlying cognitive maps does not reach its adult-like status until sometime between first and fifth grade. In the second experiment, subjects performed two tasks which tested mental mainpulation. Subjects imagined walking to new stationpoints, making three sighting tube responses based on each imagined location. Then subjects imagined that the room had rotated, making sighting tube responses in terms of the mentally transformed spatial array. Again, half the subjects in each age group were assigned to an obstructed viewing condition. Results showed definite age differences and indicated that complete mental manipulation is a two-stage process. In the first stage a strategy of manipulation is applied to the general spatial relationships contained in the cognitive map. In the second stage more specific relationships between self and spatial layout are reconstructed. (Author/SB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A